IN MEMORIAM: David Bowie Will Never Die

  EDITOR’S NOTE: This euology originally published in the wake of David Bowie’s death on January 10th 2016. We are re-posting it today on the occasion of his birthday and the kick-off of Philly Loves Bowie Week. BY JONATHAN VALANIA The year is 1980 and 14-year-old me drops the needle on Changesonebowie in my bedroom, with the door locked because this is serious business, while staring at the album cover, trying to figure out how all these startling and seemingly disconnected musics — space-age psych folk, white plastic soul, zooming Brechtian glam, bloozy garage-punk, coked-up funk, Teutonic trance-rock, proto-electronica — […]

Since His Inauguration, Trump Has Told 1,950 Lies

WASHINGTON POST: With just 18 days before President Trump completes his first year as president, he is now on track to exceed 2,000 false or misleading claims, according to our database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. As of Monday, the total stood at 1,950 claims in 347 days, or an average of 5.6 claims a day. (Our full interactive graphic can be found here.) As regular readers know, the president has a tendency to repeat himself — often. There are now more than 60 claims that he has repeated three or more times. The […]

THE KING OF COMEDY: Q&A With Judd Apatow

EDITOR’S NOTE: This week we will be re-posting choice Q&As from the past year. Today we present this reprise edition of this in-depth interview with Judd Apatow, which originally posted on February 17th, 2017. Enjoy. BY JONATHAN VALANIA By this point, everyone knows who Judd Apatow is, or at least everyone who’s had even a glancing interface with a cineplex marquee or has a non-delinquent cable account and a functioning funny bone. With writing, producing, directing or acting credits in nearly 40 films and 24 television shows, Mr. Apatow has become the Starbucks of comedy — dark-roasted, fairly-traded, consistently reliable, […]

IN ORWELL WE TRUST: Q&A With Pulitzer Prize-Winning National Security Reporter Tom Ricks

  EDITOR’S NOTE: This week we will be re-posting choice Q&As from the past year. We start with this still-timely interview with nat-sec reporter Tom Ricks, which originally posted on May 25th, 2017. Enjoy. BY JONATHAN VALANIA Under the darkening skies of the late 1930s, liberal democracy was on the ropes and fascism and totalitarianism was on the rise, reason and common sense were overwhelmed by racist entreaties, economic misery and nationalist fury, press freedoms were under attack and the facts had become a matter of opinion. Sound familiar? Two less than distinguished men rose to the occasion: a tarnished, […]


  BY DAVID R. STAMPONE If you’ve been out of the loop on Gary Numan in recent years, you may not know that the highly influential (Nine Inch Nails to Afrikaa Bambaataa et al.) English new wave synth-rock star with the erstwhile icy android persona has become quite active again in the new millennium. Hugely popular through the very late ‘70s/ early ‘80s w #1 singles and albs, he’s in a very good place at age 59, having come to grips with issues like a decline in creative interest and his (eventually diagnosed) Asperger’s syndrome some time ago. (An engaging […]

Q&A: Journey To The Center Of Mike Birbiglia

EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview originally published back in 2014. On the occasion of comedian Mike Birbiglia’s two night stand at Merriam Theater on Friday and Saturday, we present this encore edition. Enjoy. BY JONATHAN VALANIA Welcome to another round of  Stupid Answers To Stupid Questions. Actually, that’s only half true. Comedian Mike Birbiglia, of Sleepwalk With Me fame, provided pretty smart answers to our stupid questions. DISCUSSED: Getting bladder cancer at 19; what he and Terry Gross talk about when they are not robbing banks; the strangest place he ever rubbed one out; whether the rumors are true that while […]

EARWORM: Trout Mask Replica For Dummies

Captain Beefheart was an enigma wrapped in a riddle: a blues-braying Tasmanian Devil, industrial-strength surrealist, poet, painter, visionary, and charlatan. Stirring together the primal, blacksnake moan of Delta trance-blues and the free-jazz headfuck of John Coltrane and Charles Mingus in the burbling psychedelic cauldron of ’60s West Coast pop experimentalism, Beefheart’s music was the stuff of spells and incantations, fire-walking and levitation. Safe as Milk, from 1967, remains the ideal starting point for Beefheart beginners, with all the trademarks of his sound pitched in perfect tandem: proto-garage snarl, menacing blues, Martian poetry, exotic rhythms and extraterrestrial sound effects. Purists point […]

21ST CENTURY SCHIZOID MAN: Q&A With King Crimson Lead Singer & Guitarist Jakko Jakszyk

  BY JAMIE KNERR PROG-ROCK CORRESPONDENT Prog-rock lodestar King Crimson has made smashing musical boundaries their stock-in-trade since its inception in 1968. Nearly every adjective and superlative has been directed their way in the 49-odd years since they first burst onto the scene, ranging from the fawning to the not-altogether-flattering. They’ve been labeled everything from “pompous”, “bombastic” and “overly-intellectual”, to “brilliant”, “complex”, “challenging”, “futuristic” and “pure genius.” On one point there is little disagreement: From one project to the next throughout the years the band’s transformation has repeatedly defied convention or even definition. Under the leadership of acclaimed virtuoso guitarist […]